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Two-thirds of young people want to start their own business – survey

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More than three-quarters of young people in the South West have or would consider starting their own business – higher than the national average of 71 percent, according to new research published this week.

But, suggests the YouGov survey commissioned by The Prince’s Trust and LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, many say a lack of funding and practical experience is putting them off.

The research, which polled over 2,000 18 to 30-year olds across the UK on their future ambitions, found that young people in the South West see a lack of practical business experience (52 percent), a lack of funding (51 percent), and a ‘fear of failure’ (46 percent) as the most common barriers to becoming their own boss.

Getting practical advice on starting a business (64 percent), access to financial support (63 percent) and having a mentor (40 percent) were said to be the most important considerations in helping them get their idea off the ground.

The research coincides with the launch of Backing Youth Ambition, a new partnership between The Prince’s Trust and LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, to support youth enterprise across the UK.

The three-year initiative aims to help over 1,200 young people across the UK explore and launch their own businesses through start-up grants and additional funding for The Prince’s Trust’s Enterprise Programme.

LDC is also providing support through fundraising, volunteering and mentoring activity across its regional offices, employees and investee companies.

Nick Stace, UK chief executive of the Prince’s Trust, said: “Starting a business can transform a young person’s life and is a brilliant way for them to fulfil their potential and gain a greater stake in our society. Since 1983, The Trust has helped more than 88,000 young people to realise their ambition of running their own business, but it’s clear from this research that there are many more out there who feel this is something that is out of their reach.

"Together with LDC, we will help to break down the barriers these young people are facing and give as many of them as possible the confidence and opportunity to become their own boss.”

Andy Lyndon, head of South West & Wales at LDC, said: “The South West is a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity and innovation. Backing our region’s young entrepreneurs and championing small businesses is essential, to enable a whole new wave of talented young people to get their ideas off the ground, which will ultimately drive the success of the South West economy in the years to come.

“The Prince’s Trust has been helping young people get the support they need to get into education, training or employment for decades - we couldn’t think of a better mission to support. Working together we will back the ambitions of young people here in the South West and help to support the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

The research also found that almost half (48 percent) of young people in the South West think the best route to starting a business is in their current field of expertise, whilst more than three quarters (76 percent) agree the secondary school system should educate young people about starting their own business.

Some of the main drivers that would encourage young people to think about starting their own business were having greater flexibility and control over working hours (60 per cent) and making a difference (46 percent) with only just over a third (38 percent) saying ‘get rich’ would be a motivation.

Despite a new wave of entrepreneurs making their fortune from reality television and social media, research shows that established entrepreneurs like Sir Richard Branson remain an important role model for young people, with a third (33 percent) of respondents stating they would most aspire to be like him as an entrepreneur as opposed to the so-called Instagram generation of business celebrities like Kylie Jenner, who polled just two percent.